Prize4Life's mission is to accelerate the discovery of treatments
and a cure for ALS by using powerful incentives to attract
new people and drive innovation.
Prize4Life seeks to create breakthroughs in effective treatments for ALS using the leverage of large inducement prizes. Instead of recognizing historical accomplishments, Prize4Life has a simple formula for transformational change.
We design and launch prizes that our scientists believe are achievable in a 2–3 year timeframe and then invite anyone and everyone to compete. The first team to find and demonstrate the required research breakthrough wins the prize. Each prize is designed to engage more minds, more money, and more media to focus on ALS.
In addition to the breakthroughs that we seek in treatments for ALS, the goal of each prize is to leverage the media to educate the public about ALS, and to champion the companies, individuals and organizations working on ALS research and discovery.
ALS kills close to 150,000 people every year. Most people die within 2–5 years of being diagnosed. Our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, our children, friends, and even you, are susceptible to this insidious disease.
In Avi’s own words:
“Prize4Life was founded in 2006 by me and two other Harvard Business School classmates to cure ALS. It’s as simple as that. We didn’t want to start yet another organization that funds academic research, because there are already several of those and they are all doing a good job. Rather, our perspective is a business perspective. Before starting Prize4Life, we spent over a thousand hours looking at the big picture and identifying the gaps that prevent us from getting a cure. The goal of Prize4Life is to go out of business ASAP”
The $1M ALS Biomarker Prize Winner
The $1M ALS Biomarker Prize was launched in November of 2006 with the goal of accelerating the development of a biomarker—an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool that can accurately measure the progression of ALS in patients. Such a tool would make clinical trials cheaper, faster, and more appealing to investment from industry. In 2007, Prize4Life awarded five 'thought' prizes to encourage promising biomarker concepts, including submissions from a chemist, a small biotech company, a plant biologist, and a dermatologist.
In 2010, Prize4Life’s Scientific Advisory Board unanimously voted to award the $1M prize to Dr. Seward Rutkove of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for his development of electrical impedance myography (EIM), which will shorten and drastically reduce the cost of ALS clinical trials.
Avi Kremer’s Story
Prize4Life was founded in 2006 by Avi Kremer and some of his classmates from Harvard Business School after he was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29. Avi was given only 2-5 years to live. Though it has been more than 70 years since Lou Gehrig’s name has been synonymous with the disease, there is still no effective treatment. ALS is a death sentence.
Avi wanted to have as great an impact on the field of ALS in as short a period of time as possible. He and his classmates decided to launch a radical approach that was unproven in the biomedical field—incentive prizes. By focusing attention and resources on key obstacles, prizes have the potential to rapidly move disease research and drug development forward.